by Elizabeth Childs.  

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to week two of Unit 4 – can you believe there are only two weeks to go in our course! How time flies when you are having fun ;)

Before I get into the details about our week, I would like to begin by offering my heart space to the 215 children who were forced to attend Kamloops Residential School and who did not return, and to their families and relations and all Canadians as we grieve. As Ben and Myrna so clearly put it in their blog post “this heartbreaking news is another reminder of the dark history of Canada’s maltreatment of the First Nations peoples…… During this most difficult moment, we can only wish that the spirits of the children find their way home, and the world takes notice to ensure such things never happen again” (Chaddock & Pokiak, 2021, para. 1 & 2). Thank you all for taking a moment in your day, each and every day, to create space, lend support, and to be the caring humans you are.

Last week in our course, Activity 1 in Unit 4 invited you to choose a topic to examine re; the impact of DLE’s. Thank you all for your thought-provoking work examining some challenging and “ill structured” issues through the lens of the impact of digital learning. Well done! This activity invited you to explore issues that may have been unfamiliar or were very familiar but you were exploring them through a different lens with the benefit of other voice(s) in mix. The aim of the activity was to cultivate a broader/deeper understanding of the complexity of the issue and perhaps, inspire ongoing investigation by yourself or others through the sharing of your thinking and resources.

I have provided links to the summaries below as some were posted on blogs and others in Moodle (which is fine). As always, if I have missed something or am in error, please let me know and I will send out an update. Please consider commenting on the blog posts as you find time to review some; extending the conversation with resources you have found that might be relevant to someone further exploring the topic is a great way to get the pollination of ideas happening 

·       Angela, Anabella & Jolee examined the impact of digital learning on the existing digital divide in Canada. By hovering over the hot spots on their infographic you can see a treasure trove of resources that have been useful in this examination. By linking each author in the posts they have done a nice job of networking their blogs and amplifying their individual and collective work – well done!

·       Amber, London and Corie examined the impact of DLE’s on inclusive education using a fireside chat in twitter which they have shared on their blogs. A great way to see the chat as it emerged and the references that support the points made. Well done! And, a big congratulations to London on her new position – that is so exciting and well deserved!

·       Ben and Myrna examined the challenges surrounding using digital learning technologies in Canadian rural communities including the Far North. In their post they share a summary of what is going well and areas for continuous improvement that range beyond just the technology and in doing so, provide us with a wealth of resources to examine as we continue to work together to “innovate and build towards an educational experience that helps all Canadian reach their creative potential” (Chaddock & Pokiak, 2021, para.10).

·       Gail, Melissa and Alison examined misinformation and posted their summary in our Moodle shell here. They have done a good survey of the various complexities of this topic and the cross-sectoral impact and reach it has.

·       Karen, Paula and Luis examined access to education for students with disabilities on their blog posts. They discuss universal design for learning (UDL) and provide resources and tips for how information can be shared by offering alternatives. Thank you for sharing the wealth of resources.

·       Alisha, Emma and Conor examined how digital learning is impacting the teaching 21C skills in 20C schools and in doing so, provided a glimpse into the multiplicity of factors at play in this space.  

·       Ashley & Katia & Stephanie examined the various impacts of digital learning on global educators Through their infographic and the supporting references, they examine the impact (positive and negative) across multiple countries. The summary table is a wonderful way to see at a glance the detail embedded in the articles reviewed and a great way for all of us to “get up to speed” on the current literature in this space. It is also a good example of a note taking tactic as you move through your readings. Thanks so much group for sharing not just the end product but your process as well.

·       Zac and Sharmila examined the impact of digital learning on digital privacy and policy and through their real-world examples, raise issues and questions for consideration as they work to build digital literacy and digital fluency within their contexts.

·       Sam and Nitin examined how digital learning is affecting post-pandemic education by drawing on the some of the articles in the course read to date. Each one of the points raised could be examined in and of its own right. For those of you interested in this area, the summary statements posed by Sam and Nitin offer you an invitation to probe deeper into that area, to read, challenge and review the literature and the evidence as you make your own sense and meaning of our collective post-pandemic future.


For your interest, I have also provided a link to what some groups explored in previous years in this activity as there are a wealth of references and resources that you might find useful in your work, as well as links to their blogs.  

·       Barb, Shelley and Eric explored cross-cultural communications through the lens of an annotated bibliography and binary scale of positives/negatives. Here are some additional resources that might be useful including an OER resource from our RRU CTET – Transformative Learning for Intercultural Understanding

·       Jean-Pierre and Denys examined Teaching 21st Century Skills in 20th Century School through the lens of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity and offer some wonderful resources to extend into.

·       Ash, David and Cheryl investigated Fake News and Misinformation in relation to Digital Learning. This informative infographic also offers some excellent references and resources as we continue to examine and address the impact fake news and misinformation has on digital learning. You all met our Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning, Dr. George Veletsianos, during the MALAT virtual symposium. He, Dr. Jaigris Hodson and other colleagues are studying misinformation flows pertaining to COVID-19 and design educational interventions to address misinformation. If you are interested, you can find more about this research here.

·       Mike and Vanessa examined the lack of learning opportunities in rural communities. Along with the extremely thoughtful research done on this issue, they also introduce a new tool Genially which might be useful as you in your own work setting or beyond.

·       Laren, Caroline and Kerry provided a series of bullet points on inclusion in digital learning – thank you for raising such important points. I have included a link to their individual blogs above as you can find it on each one and also have the benefit of enjoying some of their other blogs posts on topics such as active learning etc.

·       Marta and Mark provided us with a lovely infographic summarizing their investigation into misinformation and fake news. Thanks for presenting this in an alternative format you two and I’m sure folks would love to hear how you created the infographic – something you might add to your post perhaps?

·       Sanjay and Leigha investigated the impact of digital learning environments on educators


Thanks so much all for all of your contributions to the Unit 4 Activity 1. These will be so valuable as you move forward and the resources you have drawn up on will be very useful when you are considering the impact of the intersection of digital learning environments and social issues in future courses.

As I mentioned in our synchronous session last week, the Unit 4 Activity 1 is meant to get your thoughts flowing re: issue for Assignment Three – the briefing note. Some of you may pick up on the issue you explored in Unit 4 Activity 1 in Assignment Three and others may have a completely different issue all together – either path is fine! Also, just a gentle reminder that Assignment Three is due this Sunday June 6th.

Now this update wouldn’t be complete without an update on the feedback for Assignment Two! I am in the process of uploading my comments and thoughts to your debate components and you will find them in your individual Moodle assignment dropboxes (one for the Debate and the other for self/peer assessment). I encourage you to review the feedback prior to submitting your A3 so that you can incorporate what is relevant into your next individual written submission.

As always, if you have any questions or want to talk further once you have a chance to go through the feedback just let me know and I would be happy to. Many thanks to all of you for your hard work on the debate and for getting your peer/self assessment submitted in a timely manner. It was very much appreciated as it made it much easier to get the overall feedback to you in advance of Assignment Three.

Okay, I think that is about it from this end for now. Thanks for sticking with this long update  Have a wonderful week and we will speak soon. Be well.